Empire & cricket
From the foreword by André Odendaal
If you are interested in cricket and the intricate politics surrounding its early history in South Africa, this is ONE book you need to own, because it
The period 1884 to 1914 was not only significant for South Africa as a country – these were also the formative years of South African cricket, which saw
empire & cricket: THE INSIDE STORIES
More about the book
Empire and Cricket illuminates the complex relationship between cricket, and the making of South African society, between 1884 and 1914.
This critical era for South Africa and the British Empire encompassed the economic revolution following the discoveries of diamonds and gold, the South African or Anglo-Boer War, and the segregationist structuring of South African society.
The book demonstrates the way in which cricket lay at the heart of social and political developments in South Africa and the wider Empire; cricket was integral to the imperial project. The volume’s contributors, from the UK, South Africa and Australia, describe how cricket acted as a vehicle for Empire, and they explore the impact of cricket on race and class. Empire and Cricket documents the role of the small and tightly knit white elite with overlapping interests in cricket, politics and business, and the largely ignored world of‘non-white’ (African, coloured and Indian) cricketers and politicians.
As the book underlines, the history of cricket in South Africa is essentially political in nature, and the close connection between politics and cricket goes back to the emergence of South Africa as a Test playing country in the late nineteenth century.
Cape Prime Minister Cecil John Rhodes included cricket in his drive to impose a segregationist structure in the African sub-continent, and together with his acolytes in the Western Province cricket establishment successfully blocked the inclusion of the coloured fast bowler, H. ‘Krom’ Hendricks in the South African teams of 1894 and 1895. Hendricks and other coloured cricketers were thereafter systematically hounded out of all forms of representative cricket at the Cape, effectively ensuring the segregationist future of South African cricket for much of the twentieth century.
The book recalls the feats of those who first placed South African cricket on the international map – Bernard Tancred, ‘Barberton’ Halliwell, Jimmy Sinclair, ‘Buck’ Llewellyn, Reggie Schwarz, and Aubrey Faulkner – and chronicles the stories of cricketers like Nathaniel Umhalla, Hendricks, and Robert Grendon, who never had the chance to perform on the international stage. It explores the widespread enthusiasm for cricket among all of South Africa's communities, and the passion and success with which blacks played the game.
As post-apartheid South Africa struggles to escape the shackles of the past, an understanding of what went before is crucial to its transformation. Empire and Cricket is more than an account of cricket in South Africa at a crucial period of its development: it is also a critical addition to the narrative of segregation, Empire and the growing literature of sport in history.